Kissimmee Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a loved one caused by another’s negligence or misconduct is more than just tragic and heart-breaking. It almost always puts a significant financial burden on the surviving family members, who are left dealing with medical and funeral expenses and the loss of a primary or secondary wage-earner, an essential caretaker for the children, or an invaluable manager of the household. Florida law recognizes the right of families to recover for these costs, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering endured.
Florida’s wrongful death laws have specific requirements regarding how a claim can be brought and what can be recovered, and the plaintiffs in the case still have the burden of proving the responsible party’s negligence and liability. In Osceola County, the Kissimmee wrongful death lawyers at Draper Law Office help family members get the financial help they need while seeking justice for a family member whose life was cut short by the negligence of another in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, slip and fall, dog bite, bicycle or pedestrian accident, or other fatal personal injury.
What Is Florida’s Wrongful Death Law?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act can be found in Florida Statutes 768.16 through 768.26. These laws make it clear that the policy of the state is to shift the losses resulting from a wrongful death from the surviving family members to the wrongdoer who caused the death. Below are some important facts to understand about a wrongful death claim in Florida.
A wrongful death action – a legal action in court – can only be brought by the personal representative of the estate of the deceased. The estate’s personal representative is someone who was named in the will to carry out this function or someone who is appointed by the probate court if a representative was not otherwise nominated. If successful in proving a negligence claim against the responsible party, the representative recovers damages that go in some part to surviving family members and in some part to the estate itself, where those monies are distributed in accordance with the will or Florida law.
Surviving family members are defined to include the spouse, children and parents of the deceased, as well as any other relatives who were dependent on the deceased for support in some way. These family members can recover the following damages:
- The value of lost support and services to the family member
- Medical or funeral expenses paid by a surviving family member
- The loss of a spouse’s companionship and protection, and the surviving spouse’s mental pain and suffering
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance for surviving children, along with compensation for their mental pain and suffering
- A parent’s mental pain and suffering arising from loss of a minor child
Additionally, the personal representative can recover the following damages, which go to the estate:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of an estate which might reasonably have been expected to accrue
How Long Does One Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In most personal injury cases, such as a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall, the injury victim has up to four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Wrongful death claims, in contrast, must be brought within two years of the date of death. This timing is critical because if you wait too long and miss this deadline, you won’t be able to hold the wrongdoer accountable in court. Two years might sound like enough time, but it goes by quickly. The personal representative is often tied up with probate duties, which can take a year or more to complete. Additionally, the personal representative is often a grieving family member who is also dealing with a major disruption in the family and household and struggling to deal with and recover from this tragic loss. By letting our firm take over the role of obtaining valuable compensation and holding responsible parties accountable to the people they have harmed, we can help families get the closure and financial help they need to move on after an unexpected loss.
Contact Draper Law Office for Help With a Wrongful Death Claim in Osceola County
Of course, nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one. Still, a wrongful death claim can provide much-needed financial relief and support now and into the future, while also helping grieving families find some measure of justice and closure as they process the loss of a loved one. For help after a wrongful death in Osceola County, call the Kissimmee wrongful death lawyers at Draper Law Office for a no-cost, confidential consultation. We are ready to help. Hablamos Español.